Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Real Voyage

The highest productions of human genius might be ciphered by one who had complete acquaintance with the facts, out of their psychological conditions, regardless whether nature be there only for our minds, as idealist content, or not. Our minds in any case would have to record the kind of nature it is, and write it down as operating through blind laws of physics. This is the complexion of present day materialism, which may better be called naturalism. Over against it stands ‘theism,’ or what in a wide sense may be termed ‘spiritualism’. Spiritualism says that mind not only witnesses and records things, but also runs and operates them: the world being thus guided, not by its lower, but by its highest element.

William James in his 1906 essay, The One and the Many is touching on different beliefs that create human experiences. Science in 1906 was just discovering the complexities of mind, as well as spiritualism in Western thought. The gap of separation was just beginning to close, or we might say the veil of separation was becoming a little more transparent. Naturally Western thought debated the action of the mind in material terms. Definitions and descriptions were placed on mind by the perceptions that were expressed by those who studied the various behaviors that influenced beliefs at the turn of the 20th century.

Naturalism, or what they called materialism, deals with one aspect of the mind, which can be defined through the outer senses. Materialism is clearly rooted in separation, but still has elements of mind within it. We discount or ignore those aspects because they don’t conform to our religious or scientific beliefs. We tend to limit our awareness, by believing that the mind is a physical aspect of us alone. We believe it it operates in the brain, but the mind can not be found in the brain, even though it is used as a synonym for the brain. The mind operates throughout our body consciousness. The mind is in every cell and molecule, although we are not able to identify it with our outer senses.

James describes lower and higher elements of self, but since our mind is in all areas of our material world, as well as all areas of our non-physical world, there are no levels of consciousness. There is only an expansion or widening of consciousness,and it can be sensed in the linear progression of our body consciousness. Mind is a quality of consciousness that can be expressed as a singular, or a plural, depending on our perception of it.

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